Mobile Learning is an efficient way of introducing educational material to non-traditional learning environments (e.g. bus stops, lunch breaks and that unbearable speech that drags on for hours). However, some of the most exciting applications of ML (particularly in the Arts) are taking place in very traditional environments – museums. Why?
-Museums are highly mobile environments.
Unlike classrooms or conference rooms, most museum displays require people to spend a lot of time walking around.
-Museums are great for learning...
They contain a wealth of artefacts and information that are directly relevant to most academic disciplines.
-...but learning doesn’t happen by itself.
Visitors need to be engaged with these artefacts and information, which is one of the biggest challenges of museums. ML has the potential to add an interactive element to the museum visit, attracting people to displays, presenting information in a new light, providing new tools for the interpretation of material and contextualising data to encourage further exploration. This is the principle of engagement through interaction.
-ML could help solve an old problem in museums.
Traditional information panels struggle to please all types of museum visitors (divers, swimmers and skimmers). ML can provide contextualised and personalised information – content at the point of interest. In principle, visitors can consume as little or as much of this content as they wish. Since the material is accessed through their mobile device, it does not take up precious space in display cases or the walls and it is easier and faster for the museum to update or replace the data.
-Most museums are keen on new technologies
Curators are generally interested in attracting lots of visitors and shedding the image of museums as stuffy, snooty temples of crystallised knowledge. Thanks to aggressive marketing campaigns, mobile devices are seen as fun and edgy. They appeal to young people and help stimulate the public’s imagination.
-ML makes sense financially
Visitors bring their own mobile device to the display (which reduces the upfront cost for the museum). In addition, mobile phone operative systems provide a ready-to-use infrastructure for the sale of content (e.g. Google Play, iPhone App Store, etc.).
-ML can be implemented on various levels
ML solutions can range from merely printing a few QR codes (which are free to produce and can be ready to use within minutes) to more sophisticated solutions (such as augmented reality apps, involving a team of coders, digital artists and months of preparation).
|Image: CC by Conxa Roda|